India’s Ambition Net-Zero Emissions Goal: Challenges and Encouraging Initiatives

Solar Power Plant Telangana II

Climate change is one of the major problems faced by many countries and it has caused numerous destructions in the past as well as in present. It is considered as non-traditional security threat to states’ stability. The burden of climate change is mostly at the shoulder of developing and underdeveloped countries who do not contribute much in carbon emission as compared to developed countries of world. Developed countries in order to promote their industrial sector and economy has produced a lot of carbon dioxide which has drastic effect on temperature and results in climate change.

The environmental outlook was depressing when negotiations began in climate change conference of parties in Glasgow in October 2021. At that time carbon emissions were rapidly increasing which would have drastic effects on our planet as it would result in 2 degree Celsius increase in temperature. India made dramatic announcement on the first day of conference that it planned to reach net-zero emissions by 2070. If India achieves that target it is estimated that it reduces warming by 0.2 degree Celsius, a remarkable figure by just an effort of one state. Although net-zero goal is worth celebrating, it will be extremely difficult to meet the target as the country is trying to develop as fast as it can. While eliminating greenhouse emissions and traditionally state cannot develop and decarbonize simultaneously as we have seen in the past that countries who develop produce a lot of carbon dioxide. 

India has vigorously promoted clean energy over the past decade according to Delhi-based independent research institute. Its efforts to promote solar energy would result in 1.25 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions reduction between 2015 and 2030 but India has to cover a long way before accomplishing its goal of net zero emission. Access to energy is basic human right as energy is used in every sphere of life. Right now country is far from using the energy sources which are used typically in rich countries, consider an example of air conditioners we can see America and other European countries can go well without good electric fans and air conditioners but it is impossible for India to not use air conditioners as temperature in some regions of India even crosses 50 degree Celsius. As a result, for India, cooling is necessary for public health and development. In fact, the country’s demand for cooling is expected to rise eightfold between 2018 and 2038. Right now country energy system is dependent upon usage of carbon as energy source because non fossil fuels energy sources such as solar energy makes only 10 percent of energy.

The country faces economic as well as nonmonetary obstacles in achieving this goal. The Indian economy must spend roughly $10 trillion on green energy infrastructure between now and 2070 to meet its target. That figure is far from the $13 billion to $14 billion that the economy is spending on renewable energy each year right now. There is a lot of difference in what India is currently spending on renewable energy resources and what it must spend to achieve its goal of net-zero emission by 2070.  The country wants to make sure its energy system is not only green but also independent from international pressure or shocks, and right now, just one state China, including Hong Kong accounts for 92 percent of India’s renewable energy equipment, lithium ion, and rare earth element. To be free from influence of other countries the government for instance, discovered 5.9 million tons of lithium in Jammu and Kashmir at the beginning of this year, which could help reduce India’s reliance on other countries for a mineral critical to clean batteries.

Despite the difficulties, India’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions through solar energy initiatives are encouraging. To achieve its net-zero target successfully, India will require robust policy measures, international cooperation, and innovative solutions to address these multifaceted challenges.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.

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